Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interview. Show all posts

26 July 2019

21318 Treehouse: designer interview with César Soares

This week, the LEGO® Ideas set 21318 Treehouse was officially revealed. It has 3036 pieces and is coming out on 1 August for £179.99/ US$199.99/ €199.99, but LEGO VIPs can already order it now. Our review is coming soon but here is an exclusive interview we had with the set's designer César Soares, with Monica Pedersen from Marketing also present.


Wow! You kept it at a good size then.

César: Yes, this is actually very close to the fan submission size [by Kevin Feeser – Ed.]. I think his is a bit taller.

Was it the intention to stick as closely as possible to what had been voted for?

César: Yes, absolutely. We always try to stay as close as possible. We have to change some things. In this case, the base for instance. He had a square grey base and the whole thing is very organic so a square base would look a little bit odd. So we thought, why not make it more organic, make it green also to mimic the grass or plants, and a little stream. Another thing is the cabins; in the original submission they were all brown. And actually the first sketch model was all brown but then Sam [Johnson, the creative lead of LEGO Ideas] wrote me and said, “hey, they don’t pop out as much as we would like, so make them another colour.” That’s why they are medium dark flesh instead of brown, and the same thing with the roofs. They were dark tan and brown as well, so again we felt a little bit of colour might add something.

14 July 2019

LEGO® Overwatch: Designer interview with Woon Tze

In May we chatted with LEGO® Overwatch designer Woon Tze in Billund about the theme and its new elements. This was prior to the reveal of the upcoming wave of sets, which is why we didn't ask him about those!

How long have you worked at the LEGO Group?

I’ve been at the company three years now. I started off at Super Heroes, I moved on to Harry Potter and Jurassic World, and now Overwatch. I built D.Va & Reinhardt [75973, read our review here] and the exclusive Omnic Bastion [75987].



Were you an Overwatch fan already?

I was a fan of the artwork, and once I got added to the team, I started playing the game… quite a bit! Probably a bit too much, I would say. I’m also a family man with three young boys so I need to control that a little bit! So at the moment it is controlled, I would hope to play a little bit more.

18 June 2019

LEGO® Jurassic World 2019: Designer interview with Marcos Bessa

In May we spoke to LEGO® designer Marcos Bessa who leads the LEGO Jurassic World design team. He ran us through the four new sets that tie in with LEGO Jurassic World: The Legend of Isla Nublar, an animated 13-episode series which is a sequel to last year's LEGO Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit.


Marcos: "For the LEGO® Jurassic World franchise in 2019 we have four novelty products coming out. These products are primarily based on new content we are doing with Universal. It expands the universe and takes place between the original trilogy and the first Jurassic World movie. The new park is already functioning, and Owen has just arrived at the park. We’ve seen in Jurassic World that he already has a history with Claire but what we are going to see in our TV series is how they actually build and develop that relationship."

11 June 2019

75936 Jurassic Park T. rex Rampage: designer interview with Mark Stafford & Marcos Bessa

Just announced, 75936 Jurassic Park: T. rex Rampage is a new Direct to Consumer set (D2C, basically ‘the big ones for adults’) that has 3120 pieces and will be available from 19 June 2019 priced US$249.99/ CA$299.99/ £219.99/ €249.99/ 1899DKK. We saw it a couple of weeks ago in Billund and can confirm it is spectacular! While there we spoke with its designer Mark Stafford and LEGO® Jurassic World team manager Marcos Bessa to get some insight into how the set came about.

© The LEGO Group 2019
Our review is coming in a couple of weeks’ time but to set the scene, here are some key details from the press release. The T. rex dinosaur measures over 8” (22cm) high, 27” (69cm) long and 6” (17cm) wide and features snapping jaws with a posable head, arms, legs and tail. The gate has an opening function and measures over 16” (42cm) high, 18” (48cm) wide and 5” (14cm) deep. The wall framing the gate features a dinosaur nest and six other scenes inspired by the movie, shown later in this post. This set includes six minifigures: John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Ellie Sattler, Alan Grant, Ray Arnold and Dennis Nedry, plus a baby dinosaur figure. The John Hammond, Ray Arnold and Dennis Nedry minifigures are new.

3 June 2019

LEGO® Apollo 11 Lander: Jamie Berard interview

At the Recognised LEGO® Fan Media Days event in Billund recently we spoke to Creator Expert Design Manger Specialist Jamie Berard who introduced their newest set, 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander, which we reviewed a few days ago.

This looks incredible, Jamie. Who designed the set?

Jamie: Lars Joe was the designer, he normally works on Architecture but he also did the Winter Village firehouse, that was his first Creator Expert model and now this is his second one. You might also see some influence of Mike Psiaki, he did some of the original configuration for this and the triangulation on the legs. Then, when Lars Joe was working with it further, I pitched in a little bit on the upper part in the locking mechanism. We all couldn't help ourselves but to want to play with certain parts! But it's definitely Lars Joe.

3 January 2019

LEGO® Unikitty: Yi-Chien Cheng & Janko Grujic interview

From a parts perspective, LEGO® Unikitty was perhaps the most interesting new theme of 2018. During the Recognised LEGO Media Fan Days, New Elementary sat down with two of the designers, Yi-Chien Cheng from Taiwan and Janko Grujic from Serbia, to ask them a few questions about the theme – and the new parts it’s given us.


We know Unikitty from 2014's The LEGO Movie, and she will return in the sequel this February. But in the meantime she got her own show, Unikitty! How did that come about?

Janko: The idea of that show has been, probably, on the table since the movie, because she’s such an appealing character. Warner Brothers joined forces with Cartoon Network to come up with the new show, so the sets that you see are related to the show on Cartoon Network, and I’d suggest that you take a look at it, it’s a lot of fun!

24 December 2018

LEGO® Architecture: Rok Zgalin Kobe interview

At the Recognised LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund last summer, we sat down with LEGO Architecture designer Rok Zgalin Kobe to have a chat about the evolution of the Architecture line. The LEGO Architecture theme has so far has spawned 42 building sets and one big ‘do it yourself’ kit – and last week we reviewed another two upcoming sets, 21044 Paris and 21043 San Francisco, due for release on 1st January 2019. 

By now, the Architecture line has pretty much become a mainstay of the LEGO portfolio. Are you surprised by the success the theme has had?

Rok: I would be betting against myself if I said I was surprised! I’m happy that it has the success that I believe it deserves.



It’s very different from the other lines, apart from maybe to a certain extent LEGO Ideas, in that the sets aren’t really made to be played with, they are static objects to be put on shelves, more like exhibition pieces. How does that affect the design process?

Rok: Well, it certainly doesn’t make us exempt from any of the stringent quality standards that the LEGO Group has, so it’s still treated as a child’s toy, with all the safety and quality issues that come with that. You have to be able to do this with it (holds up a pre-built 21037 LEGO House set and shakes it), so it has to be stable, but at the same time, at any point in the building process, you must not be able to injure yourself in any way with it. You always have to imagine a small child falling on top of it, which could be quite bad.

8 September 2018

LEGO® BrickHeadz: Marcos Bessa interview part 2

In the first part of this interview with LEGO® BrickHeadz design lead Marcos Bessa, Are J. Heiseldal asked him about the advantages and the complexities of working with multiple intellectual properties (IPs), and the inherent limitations of the BrickHeadz concept itself. Today he asks about the new and recoloured parts as well as the production process... and which character is Marcos' favourite!


At New Elementary, we love new parts so the two new types of glasses that we got in the Go Brick Me set are particularly interesting for us. What can you tell us about the development process of those?
Marcos: The brief for the BrickHeadz line actually came with a request to do something like this. The idea for the Go Brick Me set came very early, in early 2017, so the brand was just about to come out officially on the market. We were already planning what to do for 2018 and so the importance of customisation, allowing people to represent their features was of key importance for this. So we immediately started looking into what that would mean in terms of new elements –  how to make glasses, do we need something new? I started exploring and came up with a whole lot of variations of new elements that we could make, trying to come up with something that would work and fulfil the brief for this purpose, but become a versatile enough element that it could become interesting for other uses. And I think we ended up finding something that is pretty cool for what we do in the set, but also offers a lot of other opportunities, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.

6 September 2018

LEGO® BrickHeadz: Marcos Bessa interview part 1

LEGO® BrickHeadz first popped onto the scene as four exclusive sets, each containing two figures, for the San Diego Comic-Con in July 2016 but 22 more sets were added in 2017. Now, more than 70 different figures have been released and by the end of the year the number will be rapidly approaching 100, featuring figures from more external intellectual properties (IPs) than in any other LEGO product line. Are J. Heiseldal sat down with BrickHeadz design lead Marcos Bessa in Denmark to talk about the apparent smash hit.


BrickHeadz differ from a lot of other current LEGO lines in that it’s actually a new, in-house, brick-built concept, and you still deal with a lot of external IPs. What’s it like to be covering new ground like that?
Marcos: On a personal level, for me, it’s been a great challenge, because it’s a very different approach from any other product line that I’ve worked on. It has the similarity of dealing with IPs, which I have been doing for a while, but it’s in a whole different medium, with a whole different set of restrictions and challenges, and also with a whole different purpose. And my role in this product line as a creative lead has also allowed me to be much more involved in the strategy behind the line, the IPs that we bring on board, the character selection, the price point discussion, and so on. So it’s no longer just on the field, working as a designer and creating a model, I’m also more involved in other levels of discussion on the product line, which has been greatly appreciated from my side, as a growing professional. On the product line, in terms of challenges, it has been great to deal with all these different IPs, very challenging at times, there have been days and weeks when things seem to all be going south and wrong and then suddenly things get picked back up and go back on track. So it’s a fun journey. It doesn’t get boring.

13 August 2018

LEGO® Minifigures: Tara Wike & Austin Carlson interview

The LEGO® Minifigures theme has given us a great deal of interesting new parts, particularly minifigure accessories, since the arrival of the first blind bags eight years ago. At the Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days, Are J. Heiseldal sat down for a chat with designers Tara Wike and Austin Carlson to see if we could make them spill the beans on what the future holds (not really).

You represent a very successful line – since the beginning in 2010, and I did some counting, there’s been 441 figures released…
Tara: Oh my God. I lost count after we reached the 300 mark. I stopped counting then.

That’s 55 per year, pretty much one per week, for eight years. Are you going to slow down?
Austin: I don’t think so.
Tara: Not if I have anything to say about it.

23 July 2018

LEGO® Ideas 21311 Voltron: Exclusive Niek van Slagmaat interview

Voltron is the latest set from LEGO® Ideas. Niek van Slagmaat (pictured below at San Diego ComicCon) designed the set based on the original fan submission by Lendy Tayag (pictured below in the picture in the picture) and you can read our review of the parts here. Meanwhile, Are J. Heiseldal met Niek in Billund to find out how the largest LEGO Ideas set to date came about.


What kind of response are you expecting from the big Voltron fans when this comes out?

Niek: I myself come from the fanbase, so if I was looking at this from that point of view, what I would probably immediately check out is whether it matches the original fan submission. We very much wanted to try and get the set as close as possible to the image that the original fan designer submitted. With LEGO, we have very rigorous quality standards, so we have to make sure things are stable and can last for the ages. This model has been going through an incredible amount – I’m fairly sure it’s a record amount – of long-term testing, because it was such a hotly debated topic within the company. But I’ll be mostly looking forward to seeing if people like the proportions, because for me personally, super robots are all about proportions, and for Voltron specifically, because it’s all animation, proportions change a lot from frame to frame. I’ve been working very closely with Lendy Tayag, the fan designer, to check in with him – he really knows his Voltron stuff, so he had a lot of feedback about the head designs for the lions and the general shaping and use of finishing elements like slopes and stuff in certain areas. So I’m very interested to see if they like the general expression of the model, if you like. That’s a very long answer to a very simple question.

7 July 2018

Sustainable LEGO® elements: 40320 Plants from Plants

Here at New Elementary we usually talk about new shapes and colours of LEGO® elements but today we’re looking at a new material from which some botanical elements are now being made. By 2030, The LEGO Group (TLG) intend to use sustainable materials in all of their core products and packaging.

This article is a collaboration between Are J. Heiseldal who met TLG employees Matt Whitby (Environmental Responsibility Engagement) and Bistra Andersen (Senior Materials Platform Manager) at LEGO Fan Media Days in Billund, Tim Johnson, and Elspeth De Montes who has her hands on the limited edition gift-with-purchase set, 40320 Plants from Plants.

LEGO plastics

The first bricks made in 1949 were made from cellulose acetate, which warps over time. After some research by plastics companies, TLG replaced it in 1963 with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, used to this day.

1 June 2018

LEGO® Ideas Pop-Up Book: exclusive Samuel Johnson interview

We are all on tenterhooks awaiting further news of the upcoming LEGO® Ideas Voltron set. But yesterday the LEGO Ideas team instead announced the results of their latest review, which examined seven successful fan creations to decide which would be released as a real LEGO product later this year. Spoiler alert if you've not watched the reveal video... it's going to be Pop-Up Book, by Grant Davis and Jason Allemann.


Image © Jason Allemann/ Grant Davis

Thanks to the help of New Elementary readers, our reporter Are J. Heiseldal was inside LEGO HQ in Billund yesterday, for LEGO Fan Media Days, where he spoke to Senior Designer Samuel Johnson about Pop-Up Book and the other fan creations that didn't make it.

30 December 2016

LEGO® BIONICLE® Team Interview

To conclude our farewell to LEGO® BIONICLE® “Generation 2”, we have an interview with three members of the team. This was actually recorded prior to the announcement that the theme would be ending, but of course these guys continue to make Constraction figures with The LEGO Group, so whilst BIONICLE is dead (or perhaps merely dormant), the elements live on!

17 November 2016

London Skyline: set review and LEGO® Designer interview

The LEGO® Group have released several sets in 2016 that have a British connection (which is handy given that they just so happen to be opening a new flagship store in London's Leicester Square today). We’ve had 10253 Big Ben, 21029 Buckingham Palace, 40220 London Bus as well as 21306 The Beatles Yellow Submarine and 21307 Caterham Seven 620R. Now we can reveal another: 21034 London, part of the ‘Skylines’ series from LEGO Architecture. It is now available from the Leicester Square store (limited to one per customer) ahead of its worldwide release on January 1 2017. It costs £44.99 and the designer of the set is Rok Žgalin Kobe, who I had the honour of speaking to at the special pre-opening event at Leicester Square yesterday, and he mentioned many interesting facts about the model.

18 September 2016

Seventh Heaven



Today we have an extensive review of the parts that come in LEGO® Ideas 21307 Caterham Seven 620R, peppered with comments from the designer of the original concept, Carl Greatrix. I could not be happier for Carl, who is a top bloke and a remarkable builder. He’s also fun at parties.

3 November 2015

Totally Swooshable

I recently found myself quite appalled with myself. I came across a LEGO fan site called Swooshable, which has been around for years and is utterly superb, yet I wasn't aware of it. How did I miss this for so long? In case you're as deprived as I was, I'm writing about it today and the site's creator, Linus Bohman, has kindly answered some questions.



29 October 2013

Neo Elementary: Peter Reid's favourite Classic Space LEGO® elements

Inventive AFOLs have been creating their own LEGO® “themes” for a long time now. For example, Lord of the Rings was a popular MOC choice for many AFOLs long before the Peter Jackson films arrived and became licensed by TLG. But my favourite AFOL-invented theme has to be Neo Classic Space (NCS); models that respectfully bring the “Classic Space” era of LEGO sets (1978-1987) into the 21st Century with new techniques and elements mixed in with the old.

NCS is about to be showcased in the new book LEGO® Space: Building the Future, which (just in case you missed it) I published a cool little teaser trailer for yesterday. Although I’m yet to see an actual copy, I'm expecting a science fact/fiction narrative that builds on the disparate stories suggested by those original Classic Space sets, all richly illustrated with the exquisite models of Peter Reid and Tim Goddard - as you can see from this exclusive preview image of a perfectly-formed little shuttle; the LL-290. Click/tap to enlarge.